Capsule wardrobes are not some obscure, exclusive thing! You do not have to be a minimalist, rich, naturally organized, or even ‘boring’ to wear (and adore) a limited closet. If you feel that you’re drowning (literally and figuratively) in your clothes, let today be the last day of all that nonsense! Here are 5 different methods to suit your personality, and to help you downsize your closet to create your dream wardrobe.
#1 The “Pile” Method – For the Speed Cleaner
- Make your bed. You’ll need a large, flat area to lay your clothes on for sorting.
- Take everything, and I mean EVERYTHING out of your closet and lay it on your bed. Leave nothing in your closet. If you have more clothes than you do bedspace, lay a clean blanket on the ground and put your remaining clothes on that.
- Begin to make three piles:
- It fits me, I love it, it looks good on me, and I wear it frequently (or at least every appropriate time that I can).
- It fits me, but I rarely wear it, it doesn’t look that good, or it’s uncomfortable.
- It doesn’t fit, I don’t wear it, or it’s looking rough.
- Keep pile 1. Put those clothes away nicely in your drawers and closet.
- Toss, give away, recycle, or sell pile 3.
- Then also get rid of pile 2, because you are an attractive, successful, and smart person, who does not make room in her life for the ‘meh’.
#2 The Konmari Method – For the Grateful Perfectionist
- Take all the clothes you own, even your shoes and coats, and throw them on the floor in a big space in your home (again, this isn’t part of the Konmari method, but I would suggest laying down a blanket first).
- Pick up every single article of clothing, hold it, examine it, think about why you bought it, why you’ve kept it, and if it sparks joy in your life.
- If the clothing does not continue to bring you joy, it’s time to let go. Be thankful for the time together, know that it has served it’s purpose, and even say “thank you” to the piece of clothing, out loud.
- Give away, sell, recycle, or toss the clothing that needs to go.
- Prepare your “good” clothes to be put back in your closet. If you aren’t hanging your clothes up in a closet, but rather putting them in a drawer, here is the proper way to fold them, as shown by A Girl and Her Blog.
- For the clothes that will hang in your closet, it is suggested that you hang your items up (from left to right) from darkest, heaviest, and longest (umm, are we talking about Josh Turner’s Long Black Train??) to brightest, lightest, and shortest.
#3 The Backwards Closet – For the Reluctant Declutterer
- Take every single item you own, and put it on a hanger, sans underwear.
- Make your hanger hook face “out” rather than “in” like this.
- Mark down what today’s date is somewhere you won’t lose it, or even put a sticky note in your closet.
- Every time you wear an article of clothing, after you wash it, hang it back up in your closet, with the facing “in” rather than “out”. This is so that you know which pieces you’ve worn, and which ones you haven’t. When you finally make it one year, and it’s the date that your sticky note read from last year, it’s time to purge.
- All items that are backwards are now to be recycled, given away, sold, or tossed. The only exception you may have is for items that are extremely specific, such as a funeral dress that was never worn because everyone you love survived another year 🙂
#4 The 25 Item Capsule Wardrobe – For the Classic Woman
- Define your style. Are you a boots, jeans, and tee gal? Or moody maxi dresses and sunhats? Brightly colored Athlesiure? Consider the style types, the moods (modern, fitness guru, western, cute + bubbly, grunge-y, sleek, old fashioned / vintage, casual business, executive, relaxed, etc), the colors, and the fit you’re looking for (shrink wrap, fitted, loose, or flowing).
- Purge your closet using Method 1.
- Comb over Pile 1 from Method 1, and try to elimate even more clothes if you have more than 25-35 articles of clothing.
- Design your dream wardrobe, without really referencing the contents of Pile 1. You need to have the following:
- Five (5) bottoms. These can be jeans, slacks, khakis, leggings, yoga pants, shorts, capris, skirts, or even dresses.
- Six (6) warm weather tops. These can be tee shirts, tank tops, crop tops, fancy blouses, button up shirts, and longsleeve (but still thin) tops.
- Five (5) cold weather tops. These can be sweaters, turtlenecks, blazers, jackets, coats, hoodies, and dusters.
- Two (2) elegant pieces. These can be short dresses, long dresses, suits, or business formal.
- Four (4) footwear pieces. These can be heels, pumps, boots, tennis shoes, joggers, sneakers, sandals, flip flops, hiking boots, flats, or work boots.
- Three (3) accessory pieces. Think of hats, scarves, and belts.
- If you have hobbies or a career that may require additional clothing pieces, add those in too. This can include (but is certainly not limited to): smocks, aprons, safety vests, uniforms, breeches, work boots, steel toed shoes, etc.
- Now try to fit as many of your items from Pile 1 into your dream capsule wardrobe. The items that don’t fit are to go. Chances are, you probably won’t need to buy anything at all! If you do though, be sure to create a budget prior to shopping, and stick to it. If your budget is tighter, try secondhand stores first, they have lots of high quality, gently (if ever) used items.
- For inspiration, check out this beautiful and elegant wardrobe from Beauty is Cruelty Free.
#5 The Diamonds N’ Denim Method – For the Minimalist
Of course I couldn’t resist sharing my method with you! This is the method I used to remove 8 trashbags worth of clothes, leaving myself with 16 articles of clothing. These pieces of clothing were inexpensive, have lasted me almost 2 years (and still going), and work well for my lifestyle and my hobbies. They have significantly cut down on the clutter in my life, and this has led me to feeling more free and happy. This may be the absolute best way to downsize your closet 😉
- Think about what you actually do in your day to day life from a realistic standpoint. If you spent the majority of your time at home as a momma, or a freelancer, you probably won’t need many fancy items, and that includes your gorgeous high heels and that uber tight bodycon dress. Think about your situation.
- Next, accept that clothing is just that, clothing. It does not have feelings, it is just an item that you must use, it will not make you any more attractive, nor will it change your weight (regardless of if you’re too big, too small, or ‘just right’).
- Take all your clothes, and throw them on the bed. Pick up every single item, and ask yourself the following questions
- Does this fit?
- Do I like this?
- Do I look good in this?
- Is this holding up well, with no tears, stains, missing buttons, or otherwise finnicky zippers?
- Does this match, and is it relevant to, where I’m currently at in my life?
- If you answered yes to all of those questions above, now you have to put that piece on and look at yourself in the mirror. Yes, it’s extra work- but so is washing, drying, folding, mending, and ironing the piece. Decide if you really want to spend part of your life maintaining this piece.
- Go through your underwear too. Ladies, this is where we often mess up! If you have bras that have pokey underwires- mend them or toss them! If you have bras with missing hooks, mend them or toss them! If you have holes in anything, and that includes your lace, mend it or toss it! When you look in your panty drawer, you should see items that you feel comfortable AND confident in! If you say “well no one will see me in those” think again, because if you’re in an accident, you do not want to face the EMTs who had to cut you out of your stained, holey, worn out underwear! I had an accident years ago that required the hospital had to cut me out of my shirt for- and I was wearing a sweat stained, gross, but comfortable sports bra- never again girls!! I understand that you’ll probably want some less ‘nice’ panties for your period, but keep that limited to only a few pairs. If you have 3 day cycles, keep about 5 pair- if you have 7 day cycles, keep about 10-12 pairs.
- Of the clothes you like that are nice, fit well, look good on you, and match your current lifestyle- make sure they also pair well with one another. If you have a skirt that can ONLY be worn with one certain top of yours, it has to go. All of your tops need to be able to match with all your bottoms, and vice versa.
- If you want to go by certain numbers, here is what I have in my wardrobe (click here for pictures):
- Five (5) Black Vee Neck T-Shirts
- Two (2) Pairs of Wranger Jeans
- One (1) Long, dark floral dress, suitable for formal events, weddings, and funerals alike
- One (1) Short, bright red dress, suitable for dates with the husband, and fun, casual events.
- One (1) Hoodie
- One (1) Black Coat, perfect for formal events, trips into town, and general wear.
- One (1) Brown Coat, perfect for feeding horses, riding, working outside, hiking, and more.
- One (1) pair of black + red warm, flannel pajamas, perfect for spring, fall, and winter
- One (1) black night gown, perfect for summer nights
- One (1) pair of joggers, used for working out, and running
- One (1) pair of boots, which I use for everything else
- EDIT: I have since expanded my wardrobe to include 2 extra pairs of wrangers, 1 pair of yoga pants (strictly used for stretching, jogging, and weight lifting), and 1 pair of steel toe, waterproof hiking boots.
- Get rid of the dresser!
- Your shoes belong on your closet floor.
- Replace all your mismatched and wire hangers with matching ones. Personally, I have wooden ones, which is super affordable when you only need about 10 or so (I hang jeans together, and bras + dresses together)
- Your tops, bottoms, dresses, bras, and accessories hang in your closet
- Your socks and underwear now belong in a tiny box that sits on your closet shelves. Because of this, the only laundry you now have to fold are towels, and underwear. If you want though, you can probably get by without folding your underwear too. I no longer pair socks up because all of mine match one another!
- Which is your favorite way to downsize your closet?
- How many items do you think are in your wardrobe right now?
- What are your must have items in your closet? And what’s the smallest # of clothing items you could live with?
- Do you need to downsize your closet, or is it already exactly as you want it? Feel free to share pictures!
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